Reverse School Guidelines Determined by the Principal regarding Student Publications- FDLSD Board Policy 9.1052
  • Petitioning Dr. James Sebert

This petition will be delivered to:

FDLSD Superintendent
Dr. James Sebert

Reverse School Guidelines Determined by the Principal regarding Student Publications- FDLSD Board Policy 9.1052

    1. Gabi Padovano
    2. Petition by

      Gabi Padovano

      Fond du Lac, WI

In February 2014, Fond du Lac High School's school-sponsored Cardinal Columns published a feature article by senior Tanvi Kumar titled "The Rape Joke", documenting Rape Culture in school and its effects on students who are survivors of sexual abuse.

The article, a relevant, compelling and exceptionally well-written piece, became a topic of conversation among students, teachers, and classes. So much so, that the only feedback received by the Cardinal Columns staff was purely positive. 

However, Dr. James Sebert, the Fond du Lac School District Superintendent, didn't find the article favorable. In particular, he found it too negative, not representative of the school body, and felt it didn't need to be in the paper. He was so displeased by it that he actually enacted new guidelines adding detail to existing policy.

The new guidelines (found in School Board Policy 9.1052) ensures articles such as The Rape Joke would not be published in the future. This ensures that any article he or Principal Jon Wiltzius doesn't like, will not see the light of day.

Board Policy 9.1052 -- Student Publications states:

  • All school-sponsored publications shall be subject to review by the principal prior to print and publication. The principal may refuse to publish any materials that substantially interfere with the educational process, educational environment, or rights of other students, or materials that may be reasonably perceived to associate the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy. In addition, the principal may refuse to publish any materials that are poorly written, inadequately researched, false, defamatory or libelous, vulgar or profane, unsuitable for immature audiences, or biased or prejudiced. The principal's decision is subject to final review by the Superintendent. 


This would be somewhat justified if the law was broken or significant harm was done, but nothing of that nature resulted. In reality, "The Rape Joke" had an incredibly positive effect, allowing an open forum for discussion about sexual abuse, a subject found to be especially taboo in an educational setting such as high school. 

The staff of Cardinal Columns did nothing wrong. The matter, of which has a large impact on much of the student body, was reported on professionally, insightfully, and honestly. In addition to this, there were additional resources and contact information to supply survivors of sexual abuse with the information to get any necessary assistance.

Not only does this policy stop students from writing hard-hitting news stories in the future, but it's also a loss for those affected by serious issues (such as sexual abuse) that could be deemed "unsuitable for immature audiences".

Please sign the petition and help put an end to the arbitrary censorship of students.

Dr. James Sebert, FDLSD Superintendent
Reverse FDLSD School Board Policy 9.1052

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 5,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Bryan Espinosa HIALEAH, FL
      • 16 days ago

      I feel that the censorship is wrong and violation of the first amendment

    • Norie Mocega HIALEAH, FL
      • 18 days ago

      I'm a high school student from Miami,FL and i feel that the censorship is ridiculous cause it also violates their right for freedom of speech

    • emma mcleod VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
      • 19 days ago

      This started out as a research project for my own journalism class. With further investigation, I was appalled at the authority's disregard or the importance of this article, especially since I know no less than five survivors of sexual assault. Stay strong everyone

    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 3 months ago

      The most common cause of death in women and girls is domestic violence worldwide. 90% of all women, girls and female children worldwide have been raped, abused or sexually harassed. 100% of all women the world, girls and female children experience, that they are second-class citizens, more worth less than men. Half of all girls worldwide are forced to marry under age 18. 75% of all women have experienced domestic and family violence, 90% were also sexually harassed in school, university and profession. 100% are daily confronted with sexism in advertising, the media, school, university and profession. Women receive less pay for equal work. Although women do two thirds of the world's work, they earn so little that 75% of them are poor in old age. Rape, pornography and forced prostitution, femicides in many countries, forced marriages, child marriages, FGM, honor killings, dowry deaths, acid attacks, witch hunts, mass rape, war rape, gang rapes, the withholding of education and school as well as forced veiling, stoning of rape victims, imprisoning and torturing women's show them that they are only objects for the men , especially sexually, but not seen as humans with the same rights around the world. This is a very sad outcome for the 21 Century. Only few women actually dare their opinion about these things to say, and rightly, worldwide costs of fighting for human rights, women's rights, children's rights, many women, girls and female children's life. They are raped in the cruelest way, tortured and slaughtered. I can say for myself that I'm glad to be almost 60 years old, unfortunately the world is not getting better. I hope very much that the younger generations can this stop around the world, here are the young men asked, it is implausible that they feel comfortable in such a world. And there must be worldwide for assault crimes against women, girls and female childs tougher sentences. This is the first step that things getting better.

    • Tina Hoefs OSHKOSH, WI
      • 4 months ago

      I don't like bullys or control freaks


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